Sacred Circle,  Swords

Journey into: 10 of Swords

Written by: Emma Sunerton-Burl

Continuing her series, Emma Sunerton-Burl looks into the cards of The Sacred Circle Tarot, by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason, published by Llewellyn:

I look at the card and see there is an owl flying overhead and I am immediately reminded of the aspects of both wisdom and death associated with the Owl, then I see the grill of 9 swords crossed by one. I see a beautiful moorland with a stone circle; a place that looks both peaceful and powerful in its simplicity.

I walk into the card.

I sense a feeling of space and openness, also a feeling of being remote and I both like this aloneness yet also am aware that with weather conditions changing it could be a place easy to get lost in – with little landmarks beyond what I can see in front of me.

I look up to the swords first and ask them as a group to explain their meaning to me.

“We are an ordered structure all heading in the same way neat and tidy, but we may not be founded on all that is solid. I (speaks the crossing sword) am representing the destruction of all that is ordered and the ‘not knowing’ which of these swords is actually in alignment with the truth and which is an illusion. I cross the swords as an almost invisible sword; the effects of the world around you have imperceptibly changed your view into one which you are now not sure you can rely on. As you become disillusioned with what you believe to be true so your sense of where you are in life becomes confused and you are not sure what it is that you need to be focused on. There is a temptation to just pick a direction and go that way at random; then very soon after to change your mind and go in another, never really trusting yourself or your inner knowing. As you experience the challenge to your mindset, you need to gather your inner strength and to channel it in one direction until you have concrete feedback this is accurate for you. It is like being tempted in the wilderness with so many options you choose none with commitment and stay lost.”

“Thank you for your message swords. How would one regain their clarity then?”

“It is about going to the depths of your beliefs, what is core in you? what do you absolutely know, beyond all else? Use this as a starting point for your direction. Many times this is love – the core energy of the universe; focus your direction based on love, in a universal rather than personal sense, and you will be guided by your highest principles even if all around you seems to have been proven false.”

“Thank you.” I say.

I look to the stone circle as I feel it has been calling me.

“What do you signify?” I ask.

“We are the stones of your soul, the concrete in a life of much change, though we are earthly rather than heavenly we help you contact your soul longing and energy, to give you guidance. We are the tool you can use to find your direction next; like a compass we will show you which way you need to go and help you understand what is beyond your intellectual knowing. This will help you let go of the rationally built ideas and embrace motivations from deeper within you. As you meditate within us you are both protected by our shape and also given the energy you require to have both courage and direction in your life. When this card appears use the time to reflect upon yourself and gain your guidance from this. There is no rush to move forward despite the changing environment around you. As you gather yourself with our energy so we can help you have the space to find who you are in yourself as opposed to the reflections you have taken as real from others around you.”

“Thank you.” I say as I sit within the circle and feel its peace, once I let go of having to be somewhere sometime.

As I sit here I am then drawn to the owl circling above; my energy flies upwards to be one with the owl, as I join I ask:

“What is your perspective?”

“I am the all-seeing; that which is above the earthly plane. I fear not change or death; I am that I am. As you allow your energy to touch mine you see the truth of the situation and allow the vision to fill your consciousness. You allow change more easily when you take the higher perspective and you see where you’re clinging to something that appeared to bring a safety but has led to this feeling of insecurity. As you see the higher perspective you also see that your security comes from something beyond the safe things of the earth; your security comes from your spiritual faith and knowing. As you open your eyes of wisdom you see in the dark and you come to know the details as part of the whole. You fear not the night, but embrace it for the nourishment it can bring to you. Allow yourself to be nourished by events you may have seen as fearful; take the gold from the shadows, and the treasure of your soul that have been hidden by the need for earthly security. This is my gift of wisdom to you.”

“Thank you.” I say – that is very powerful.

I feel that this card is a very spiritual card and that in many ways it is like the lifting from the focus of the physical plane in life to the realms of the spiritual – a wake up call almost, and a time for understanding ourselves in a new way. I have a great sense of aloneness and that we need to be alone as we discover these deep aspects of ourselves.

I am drawn to the cairn quite near to the circle and feel I will be able to see what I need to now when I arrive there. I walk directly to it through heather and undergrowth, as I pass by I ask the heather for its message.

“We are here as the removers of fear – we give courage, luck and fortitude to those who wish to accept our gifts. We cover the land with our beauty and love, remember as the seasons change we bring the energy of the heart to the earth before it goes into its resting phase at winter, we bring change, yet we remind all that there is no need for fears, and a reminder that love will hold you and protect you through all physical world challenges; you are never truly abandoned however it may feel. Use our energy to hold you when things change and shift the locus of control in your life. We will not abandon you.”

“Thank you.” I say. Suddenly the card seems so supportive despite the possible danger I also sense within it.

I get to the cairn. I sit down and ask for its meaning.

“We represent a marker in time, as does the event you experience when you experience this card. We are also a viewpoint in good conditions that can help you gain your bearings; we will help you know where to go next. In a sense your internal ‘good conditions’ are the courage and trust you have in the deepest part of yourself. As you cultivate these conditions in the circle so you then are ready to come here and see the possibilities ahead of you. You are ready to move on with the gold, the inner security, you have developed through going through the energy of this card.”

“Thank you.” I say. “This makes a lot of sense to me.”

I am drawn at this point to go to each element I have spoken to so far and ask about a particular issue I am currently concerned with.

“As we stand as an ordered array of swords, so your life is, in many senses, unchanged by your issue, as what you are concerned about is getting your emotional body around a new concept in life; nothing has really changed in the outside world – only your inner world has been shaken. Hence your life is not going to change through it, only your approach to your life and what you consider as your core.”

I thank the swords and as I lie in the centre of the circle I am aware I am lying on heather and so am supported by heather in a both literal and figurative sense. I feel the love radiate to me as I allow myself to come to my centre here and resist the urge to rush off in some direction or another. I feel I am being sent healing light from all directions and that I am like a hub of a wheel; still, even when the wheel is in motion.

After a while I get up and walk to the cairn a second time. I stand there and look out to what is ahead of me. I can see clearly and I see a pool of water a mile or so away and then a small hill to one side that looks interesting for exploration. I notice I have now a map on me and take bearings to these places and measure distances. I know now what I need to do whatever the environment does. As I move forward I will still be able to be on the path I have chosen. I feel renewed trust and comfort in the situation – I know I am supported as I go, by the earth beneath me and spiritual reality above and within me.

I return to the card journey and ask of the card elements as a whole:

“What do you mean when you are reversed?”

“It is an energy of denial; walking round and round in circles looking for the possibility that the truth is not so. We indicate someone being stuck, unable to get to their core, blocked by their fear of letting go of the one thing they need to, in order to see the truth and the reality of themselves. To right the card they need to let go of the one thing they think they cannot and trust with faith that it will be returned to them if it is on their highest path. It is an act of surrender to right this card. Surrender to their soul, the deepest most spiritual self, and a letting go of rationalisation and intellectualisation, as they are blocking forces at this time. Nothing may change or even be removed from their life – but the letting go enables this to be the case. To hold too tight can break things or cause the very thing feared to happen.”

“Thank you for your words of wisdom here – this has been a powerful experience for me. I get the sense it can relate to so many areas of life – relationships, transitions in life, moving living location, changes of all sorts that bring fears of loss and survival issues to the foreground.”

“Yes that is it.” I hear the owl say as it swoops by and onward into the distance.

I thank the card as a whole – it has given me much help here and I will use these images to help me move forward personally.


I welcome any comments on this article or the visualisations you do following this method. Email me on 


Emma works as an intuitive psychic tarot reader and runs one to one online training courses on reading with the Thoth tarot deck using a unique blend of intuition and psychological techniques. This has now been extended to working intuitively with RWS style decks too. She also mentors other professional and non-professional tarot readers. She offers visualisation MP3 downloads for intuition development, tarot readings F2F, telephone or distance, and healing – see her website for details

Emma has a Bsc in Psychology and is a trained counsellor, counselling supervisor and trainer. She integrates this experience in her Tarot work, and in her self-written training courses for personal development, Tarot, and Tarot mentoring.

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